Marshall University Marathon

                          Marshall University Marathon

From Mike “Colonel Cupcake” Cannon:

RidgeRunners, have we got a deal for you!  If you are interested in running a marathon or half marathon this fall, please consider this opportunity.

The Marshall University Marathon is held on Veteran’s Day weekend (first weekend in Nov) in Huntington, WV.  It is an inexpensive, relatively small, very well organized, and FLAT race.  Yes, flat.  Like pancake flat.  It’s probably the only flat course in the state.

The race also pays tribute to the memory of the Marshall University Football team and supporters who were killed in a tragic plane crash in 1970.  The movie, We Are Marshall, chronicles this event.  The race supports the Wounded Warrior project as well and provides a HUGE discounted registration for military members (active, guard, and reserve).

The RidgeRunners would like to take a group to run this awesome race.  The club would rent a van or vans and pay for transportation to/from the race and transportation in and around Huntington.  We would block rooms at a hotel (Ramada Limited – Huntington) for our runners to reserve.  Most rooms have two queen beds so each room could accommodate up to 4 runners to cut your costs.  We’d leave on Saturday morning, race on Sunday, and return on Monday (Veteran’s Day).  It’s about a 6 hour drive.

You’d be responsible for race registrations (~$65-80 for the full, ~$40-50 for the half), lodging, and food (except for Saturday dinner which will be the pre-race pasta dinner).  You’d also be responsible to train for the race, although we’ll provide training plans and advice to those who would like them.  We’d also require a $20 deposit for the vans, fully refundable at the finish line (having a solid […]

By |March 17th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Marshall University Marathon

Makeshift Motivation and Race Registration

I’ve been nursing a knee injury since JFK 50 and I can tell you that I now view New Year’s resolutions and fitness motivation photos and mottos with a great guffaw of skepticism.  Let it be known that this rolling-my-eyes talk-to-the-hand attitude hides a serious winter bluesy depression. With motivation out the window and a body that feels more pain than pleasure with each running step, I feel like I’m the last person who should be leading the club or writing this newsletter.  Gone is the insane zeal that usually peppers Club News.  I’ve contemplated quitting everything.

What to do?  The answer comes from the wise words of a precocious nine-year-old girl with an uncommon predilection for reality food TV shows, who, while mixing her grandmother’s cupcake recipe and a strange balsamic-based icing, said, “You know, Mommy, you should never give up.  We never quit.”  With a bit of batter on her cheeks and a confidently arranged side ponytail, the girl had a point.

What exactly am I teaching my kids by not running?  I’ve been green lighted to bike on a trainer and to swim (the latter option being both expensive—I’m looking at you Chinn Center—and difficult for a non-swimmer like me) and I’ve done the bare minimum. When I say bare minimum, picture me on a bike pedaling at a leisurely speed called Riding Through Gently Rolling Tuscan Hills and Filling a Big Old Woven Basket with Roadside Poppies While Being Passed by the Town Priest Who at 89 Walks Faster Than I Pedal.  It’s capitalized because it’s an actual setting on the trainer.  I look even more un-athletic as I hold on to an armoire so as to not lean on the bike and […]

By |January 28th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Makeshift Motivation and Race Registration

A Walk for Boston

Running is a sport that provides a sense of freedom to its adherents: freedom from daily stresses and our own limitations. It is accessible to anyone in reasonably good physical condition. It does not discriminate against ethnicity, wealth, background, sex, or religion. All you need is a pair of shoes (or no shoes at all according to the minimalists) and the will to keep moving.

Yesterday, the running community suffered terrible losses in Boston.  Many participants trained for years to cross the Boston finish line and the joy of their accomplishment has been diminished by these events.  Yesterday, running came with a heavy price to pay.

Boston is the Superbowl of long-distance racing.  To qualify for Boston is our sport’s litmus test, a measure of prowess that runners can relate to immediately.  Because of its significance, friends and family will rally to cheer their runner on, either by traveling to the city or by following the race in real time at home.  Supporting a runner is sometimes as satisfying as completing a race.

Men, women, and children diligently waited for hours yesterday morning and afternoon on the sidelines to see their loved ones complete 26 miles.  A marathon race brings out so much inspiration, courage, and love in all those present.  That compassion was foiled by intentions that none of us can comprehend.

To the city of Boston, the Boston Athletic Association, the family and friends of the injured and the deceased, I offer on behalf of the RidgeRunners Club and all area runners our deepest condolences and sincere sympathies.

Let us celebrate the courage and accomplishment of Boston participants, race organizers and volunteers, emergency responders, and security forces, and let us refuse to be defeated by these acts of […]

By |April 16th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on A Walk for Boston

Viva la Resolution!

The following blog entry was by nuestro capitan Cannon:

I see you in the gym in non-traditional workout clothes and think, ‘are you the one?’

I see the look of confusion on your face as you are overwhelmed by all the crazy-looking workout machines and think, ‘are you the one?’

I see you in the back of the class on the spin bike in the corner, struggling to keep pace and think, ‘are you the one?’

I see you at the track running in the waning light, huffing and puffing in the cold winter air and think, ‘are you the one?’

I see you show up at scheduled run with an LRC, intimidated by all of the “real” runners and think, ‘are you the one?’

I see you on the sidewalks and streets of my neighborhood; run-walk-run-walk-repeat. Are you the one?

Are you the one whose determination is stronger than the pain of aching muscles; whose resolve outweighs the numbers on the scale; whose intestinal fortitude can overcome lethargy, whose drive will last far beyond the middle of January…Valentine’s Day…Easter?

Are you the one I will see crossing the finish line of your first race, tears flooding your eyes, arms raised high in victory, that unmistakable look of “I DID IT!” beaming brightly for the world to see?

Are you the one who I will see way out in front of me with a pace I can only dream of?

Are you the one with sponsors where you use to have cynics?

Are you the one in ten…a dozen…fifty, maybe, Resolutionists who will stick it out?

I look at each and every one of you and hope that you are.

By |January 26th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Viva la Resolution!

Running Wheels

The following blog entry was written by Steve “Hot Wheels” MacDonald. (Also referred to as “Captain America” by a group of RidgeRunners who secretly wish they had his biceps.)

I enjoy running and always looking for new challenges. I moved to Woodbridge in February of this year and I quickly found the Lake Ridge RidgeRunners: a fantastic running club right in my neighborhood. I began running twice a week with the nightly regulars. My speed was upper middle of the pack. Putting in the time each week I closed in on the heels of the top five. Feeling stronger in early summer, I decided to take my children along in a double jogger. Anticipating a poor time the first try on the course with wheels, I preemptively said, “I’m just putting in resistance training.” I did OK…much better than expected (not near last) and I liked it! I brought my sons, who are one and two years old, more often until I didn’t want to run without my little teammates. The joy of running with my boys is priceless. The youngest squeals with excitement and hops on board. While the oldest takes charge of retrieving the ride from the garage and helps load up water bottles. Together they point out buses, tractors and dogs! (Nothing motivates you like your kids out in front). The bonding time was irreplaceable:  just me, my boys  and the course ahead. If I second guess myself I know I won’t quit on them.

I soon became faster, burning eight-minute miles! It was on a  routine Tuesday night that I realized the speed had developed. On the down hills I  rode the heels of a fellow RidgeRunner who I knew had higher caliber times.  I continued to track through […]

By |December 8th, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Running Wheels

It’s Not Your Average Running Club, It’s Everybody’s Running Club

From our new VP, Mike Cannon:

My experience with running groups made me think there are two kinds of running clubs: the totally serious kind and the totally social kind.  But then I found the RidgeRunners.

The first kind is good if you are training hard and run “their” pace and “their” types of races.  If you want to take your running to the next level and can find a group with your same goals, they are very beneficial.  They tend to be pretty inflexible, almost snobbish.  If you can’t keep up, don’t show up.

The second kind is good if you need to socialize and happen to match their demographics.  They may be of a similar age, occupation, or marital status.  They also tend to run at a similar pace, but mostly so they can talk.  Their running is pretty static, but the social aspect keeps it from getting monotonous.   If you don’t want to talk about what they all talk about, don’t show up.

But the RidgeRunners are different, in a good way.  We have runners of all ages and abilities.  We are the most diverse group with which I have run.  On a typical run, we have runners with over 50 years of difference in age.  We have runners who will run a 6-minute pace and a 14-minute pace and everything in between.  We have runners who have run over 100 marathons and others who have never run a race of any distance.  Some prefer trails and others roads.  We have walkers and strollers and dogs (on leashes.)  Some of us train hard (sometimes) and all of us socialize (a lot of the time.)

It is easy to find somebody to push you or pace you.  It […]

By |July 5th, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on It’s Not Your Average Running Club, It’s Everybody’s Running Club

Running Goal Update

From our very own Colonel Mike Cannon:

Not that you really care, but since I blogged about my 2012 goal of running a race sponsored by each of the seven uniformed services, I thought I’d provide a quick update.  Periodically reviewing goals and adjusting them (if necessary) is one of the best ways to keep from losing focus on your goals.

It was a challenge to find a race sponsored by some of the smaller services (especially a local race), but I thought I had it all figured out.  Unfortunately, the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and the US Navy threw some monkey wrenches into my plan.  The PHS decided not to hold the Surgeon General’s 5K this year and they sponsor no other races.  They do help support a 5K in Nashville in May, but nothing else—anywhere.  The Navy, in response to the popularity of the Navy 5 Miler, decided to expand and run a half marathon and a 5 miler this year.  But to do so, they had to shift a week.  The 5 Miler now conflicts with the AF Marathon (for which I’ve already registered).

In the immortal words of Gunny Highway (Clint Eastwood in Heartbreak Ridge), I had to improvise, adapt, and overcome.  So, I found a Navy Birthday 5K at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling for my Navy race and will be running the Tim Harmon Recovery Run in Fairfax as my PHS race.  Okay, so it is not sponsored by the PHS, but it is for charity and raising awareness about Hepatitis C…which is a public health issue, so I’m calling it good.

I’ve checked off the NOAA race in March and the US Coast Guard race in April already.  With the “PHS” race in […]

By |June 9th, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Running Goal Update

Together We Are Better, Stronger, Faster

This entry was written by our very own sports-rocket-scientist Mike Cannon:

I’m about to get all psychological on you.

You can blame Norman Triplett.  Go ahead.  He won’t mind, since he’s been dead since 1933.  But when he was still alive and at Indiana University back in 1898, he published the first known article on sports psychology.  It dealt with the effects of pacers and competitors on cyclists’ speed.  There have been hundreds of other studies since then, but ‘ole Norm started it.

It’s called social facilitation.  It is the psychological effect (don’t say I didn’t warn you) of group dynamics on the performance of simple, well-learned tasks–like running.  I’ll sum up years of research by Academicians who never held real jobs in just a single paragraph, which will explain why running clubs are cool, just ‘cause I’m good like that.

First, regardless of our current level of performance, we tend to perform better when competing.  Second, we tend to perform better when participating in a group setting, even when NOT competing.  Third, we are much more likely to participate regularly when part of a group.  And fourth, participating with a dynamic group varies the experience (even regular runs over the same course) enough to delay or eliminate monotony (which retards performance).

Oh, and on an interesting side note, we also tend to perform better when being watched by someone of the opposite sex.  This is just one of many reasons to ensure our group remains diverse.  But I digress.

If you want to conduct your own experiment in social facilitation, it is not too hard.  I can help you set it up.  Or you can just take my word for it.  Or ask a sports psychologist…they’re way smarter than me.

Share […]

By |May 11th, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Together We Are Better, Stronger, Faster


The following blog entry was written by long-distance runner extraordinaire Keith Hosman:

Allyson and I left for Virginia Beach Friday night when she got home from work. We stayed with her childhood friend Kathy. The next morning Allyson and Kathy walked the 8K. I was going to run it slow and save myself for the marathon the next day.

It is fun the hold back and try not to run fast in a large race. I just took in everything and tried not to let race adrenaline take over. The only thing that happened was a little kid with green hair was in front of me and I tried to go around him on the left and he moved right in front of me. So I tried to get around him on the right and again he moved right in front of me. Now he started to look back at me and no matter which way I went to move around him he pulled right in front of me all the time looking back at me. I almost took him out. At last I got around him. Maybe he was not a small kid but an evil leprechaun.

When I saw the finish line, I started to pick up the pace but then put on the brakes and took it easy all the way to the end. I finished the 8K in 47:28, which is a 9:33 pace. I got to drink beer, eat beef stew, and listen to a live rock band while I watched Allyson and Kathy finish the race on live big-screen TV.

We had a big pasta dinner at Kathy’s house that night. The next morning, Kathy dropped me off near the start line. […]

By |May 11th, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Shamrock


This blog entry was written by our calmly fierce vice-president and RRCA liaison, Dave Gillis.

Some people are inherently motivated to achieve all of life’s goals. I am not one of those people. My motivation ebbs and flows with the tide. Winter has always been a low point for me. It is a constant struggle for me to understand myself and how to keep motivated.

I played many sports in high school, mostly focusing on tennis and soccer. The coaches would always dictate what I needed to do in every practice. As I look back, I understand that part of my difficulty with self-motivation is the fact that throughout my sports career, I never had to make the decision to motivate myself. The coach planned the practices and instincts would take over during the games. The team provided motivation through our desire to win.

After high school, I ran a few road races in college and then joined the Air Force, which also provided some motivation to work out with its annual physical fitness tests. However, I found myself doing the minimum when working out so that I could pass the tests. I was never concerned about setting a personal best, etc.

While in college, my friend and I created a bucket list that including running a marathon. We never got close, but it stuck in my mind. In 2007, on a whim for my New Year’s resolution, I decided to run a marathon. I chose the Air Force Marathon in Dayton, Ohio. I had nine months to train and decided that it was sufficient time to prepare. I was motivated by many factors including my family and friends.

I read anything I could get my hands on to help […]

By |March 21st, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Motivation